Ingestive behavior and temperament of Nellore cattle classified for residual feed intake

Julian Aldrighi, Renata Helena Branco, Joslaine Noely dos Santos Gonçalves Cyrillo, Elaine Magnani, Cleisy Ferreira do Nascimento, Sarah Figueiredo Martins Bonilha, Maria Eugênia Zerlotti Mercadante


The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship between ingestive behavior, temperament and residual feed intake (RFI) in Nellore cattle. Sixty-two bulls and 56 heifers after weaning, housed in individual pens, were evaluated in individual performance tests. Animals were classified as low RFI ( 0.135 kg day-1; greater than mean plus 0.5 standard deviation). Ingestive behavior was evaluated for 24 h by direct observation, every 24 days in bulls or every 10 days in heifers. Temperament was assessed by flight speed, reactivity in mobile confinement, composite score, and serum cortisol measurement. The most efficient animals (low RFI, 5.6 kg DM day-1) consumed 7% less feed than animals with medium efficiency (mean RFI, 6.0 kg DM day-1) and 13% less than the least efficient animals (high RFI, 6.34 kg DM day-1). More feed efficient animals spent a longer time feeding and ruminating per kg of DM consumed. Similarly, more efficient animals consumed less DM per hour and ruminated less DM per hour, but made the same number of visits to the feed bunk. High-efficiency animals were 13% and 35% faster to walk 1.77 m after release from the scale than medium- and low-efficiency animals, respectively, suggesting a more reactive temperament without differences in reactivity, composite score, or serum cortisol. Feed efficiency is associated with ingestive behavior and temperament in Nellore cattle. More efficient animals consume and ruminate less feed over the same period of time than animals with medium and low feed efficiency. In addition, more efficient animals exhibit a faster flight speed and are more reactive than less efficient animals.


Beef cattle; Behavior; Feed efficiency; Feed intake.

Full Text:



ADAM, I.; YOUNG, B. A.; NICOL, A. M.; DEGEN, A. A. Energy cost of eating in cattle given diets of different form. Animal Production, Cambridge, v. 38, n. 1, p. 53-56, 1984.

BEEF IMPROVEMENT FEDERATION - BIF. Guidelines for uniform beef improvement programs. CUNDIFF, L. V.; VAN VLECK, L. D.; HOHENBOKEN, W. D. (Ed.). Athens: Beef Improvement Federation, 2010.

BURROW, H. M.; SEIFERT, G. W.; CORBET, N. J. A new technique for measuring temperament in cattle. Australian Society of Animal Production, Rockhampton, v. 17, n. 1, p. 154-157, 1988.

CAFE, L. M.; ROBINSON, D. L.; FERGUSON, D. M.; MCINTYRE, B. L.; GEESINK, G. H.; GREENWOOD, P. L. Cattle temperament: persistence of assessments and associations with productivity, efficiency, carcass and meat quality traits. Journal of Animal Science, Champaign, v. 89, n. 5, p. 1452-1465, 2011.

FORDYCE, G.; GODDARD, M. E.; SEIFERT, G. W. The measurement of temperament in cattle and the effect of experience and genotype. Animal Production in Australia, Rockhampton, v. 14, n. 1, p. 329-332, 1982.

GOMES, R. C.; SAINZ, R. D.; LEME, P. R. Protein metabolism, feed energy partitioning, behavior patterns and plasma cortisol in Nellore steers with high and low residual feed intake. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia, Viçosa, MG, v. 42, n. 1, p. 44-50, 2013.

GRANDIN, T. Behavioral agitation during handling of cattle is persistent over time. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Edinburgh, v. 36, n. 1, p. 1-9, 1993.

GRION, A. L.; MERCADANTE, M. E. Z.; CYRILLO, J. N. S. G.; BONILHA, S. F. M.; MAGNANI, E.; BRANCO, R. H. Selection for feed efficiency traits and correlated genetic responses in feed intake and weight gain of Nellore cattle. Journal of Animal Science, Champaign, v. 92, p. 955-965, 2014.

GUIMARÃES, A. L.; MERCADANTE, M. E. Z.; CANESIN, R. C.; BRANCO, R. H.; LIMA, M. L. P.; CYRILLO, J. N. S. G. Phenotypic association between feed efficiency and feeding behavior, growth and carcass traits in Senepol cattle. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia, Viçosa, MG, v. 46, n. 1, p. 47-55, 2017.

HERD, R. M.; ARTHUR, P. F. Physiological basis for residual feed intake. Journal of Animal Science, Champaign, v. 87, n. 14, E64-71, 2009. Supplement.

KELLY, A. K.; MCGEE, M.; CREWS JUNIOR, D. H.; FAHEY, A. G.; WYLIE, A. R.; KENNY, D. A. Effect of divergence in residual feed intake on feeding behavior, blood metabolic variables, and body composition traits in growing heifers. Journal of Animal Science, Champaign, v. 88, n. 1, p. 109-123, 2010.

KOCH, R. M.; SWINGER, L. A.; CHAMBERS, D.; GREGORY, K. E. Efficiency of feed use in beef cattle. Journal of Animal Science, Champaign, v. 22, n. 2, p. 486-494, 1963.

LLONCH, P.; SOMARRIBA, M.; DUTHIE, C.-A.; HASKELL, M. J.; ROOKE, J. A.; TROY, S.; ROEHE, R.; TURNER, S. P. Association of temperament and acute stress responsiveness with productivity, feed efficiency, and methane emissions in beef cattle: An observational study. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, Davis, v. 3, Article 43, 2016.

MAFFEI, W. E.; BERGMANN, J. A. G.; PINOTTI, M.; OLIVEIRA, M. E. C.; SILVA, C. Q. Reatividade em ambiente de contenção móvel: uma nova metodologia para avaliar o temperamento bovino. Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Belo Horizonte, v. 58, n. 6, p. 1123-1131, 2006.

MONTANHOLI, Y. R.; SWASON, K. C.; PALME, R.; SCHENKEL, F. S.; MCBRIDE, B. W.; LU, D.; MILLER, S. P. Assessing feed efficiency in beef steers thought feeding behavior, infrared thermography and glucocorticoids. Animal, Cambridge, v. 4, n. 5, p. 692-701, 2010.

NASCIMENTO, C. F.; BRANCO, R. H.; BONILHA, S. F. M.; CYRILLO, J. N. S. G.; NEGRÃO, J. A.; MERCADANTE, M. E. Z. Residual feed intake and blood variables in young Nellore cattle. Journal of Animal Science, Champaign, v. 93, n. 3, p. 1318-1326, 2015.

NKRUMAH, J. D.; CREWS JUNIOR, D. H.; BASARAB, J. A.; PRICE, M. A.; OKINE, E. K.; WANG, Z.; LI, C.; MOORE, S. S. Genetic and phenotypic relationships of feeding behavior and temperament with performance, feed efficiency, ultrasound, and carcass merit of beef cattle. Journal of Animal Science, Champaign, v. 85, n. 10, p. 2382-2390, 2007.

PACHECO, P. S.; RESTLE, J.; VAZ, F. B.; FREITAS, K. A.; PADUA, J. T.; NEWMANN, M.; ARBOITTE, M. Z. Avaliação econômica da terminação em confinamento de novilhos jovens e superjovens de diferentes grupos genéticos. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia, Viçosa, MG, v. 35, n. 1, p. 309-320, 2006.

PIOVEZAN, U.; CYRILLO, J. N. S. G.; PARANHOS DA COSTA, M. J. R. Breed and selection line differences in the temperament of beef cattle. Acta Scientiarum. Animal Sciences, Maringá, v. 35, n. 2, p. 207-212, 2013.

RICHARDSON, E. C.; HERD, R. M. Biological basis for variation in residual feed intake in beef cattle. 2. Synthesis of results following divergent selection. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, Collingwood, v. 44, n. 5, p. 431-440, 2004.

RICHARDSON, E. C.; HERD, R. M.; COLDITZ, I. G.; ARCHER, J. A.; ARTHUR, P. F. Blood cell profiles of steer progeny from parents selected for and against residual feed intake. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, Collingwood, v. 42, n. 7, p. 901-908, 2002.

ROLFE, K. M.; SNELLING, W. M.; NIELSEN, M. K.; FREETLY, H. C.; FERRELL, C. L.; JENKINS, T. G. Genetic and phenotypic parameter estimates for feed intake and other traits in growing beef cattle, and opportunities for selection. Journal of Animal Science, Champaign, v. 89, n. 11, p. 3452-3459, 2011.

TURNER, S. P.; NAVAJAS, E. A.; HYSLOP, J. J.; ROSS, D. W.; RICHARDSON, R. I.; PRIETO, N.; BELL, M.; JACK, M. C.; ROEHE, R. Associations between response to handling and growth and meat quality in frequently handled beef cattle. Journal of Animal Science, Champaign, v. 89, n. 12, p. 4239-4248, 2011.


Semina: Ciênc. Agrár.
Londrina - PR
E-ISSN 1679-0359
DOI: 10.5433 / 1679-0359
Este obra está licenciado com uma Licença  Creative Commons Atribuição-NãoComercial 4.0 Internacional